As darkness surrounded Maya inside of the rakshasi’s closed mouth, Maya took a deep breath and almost gagged. The putrid stench surrounding her and the icky, slimy stuff that bumped against her palm every time she moved was hardly contributing to her waning confidence. What if it didn’t work?
But her faith in her guru’s teachings remained. Time had come for phase 2 of her plan. Trying not to recoil in disgust, Maya moved towards the end, the inner cheek of the rakshasi. Gritting herself, she used her satchel to scrape the inner cheek. When it didn’t produce the desired effect, she continued her puke-inducing labour until suddenly she was spat out by the rakshasi in a sneeze.
Maya felt a small frisson of victory even covered in disgusting slime as she were from head to foot.
The rakshasi steadied her coughs and glared at Maya.
“Why did you do that? You agreed to be my supper.”
“Sorry, mother. I only agreed to enter your mouth not become your food.”
The rakshasi stared for a long moment at Maya and started laughing.
“Oh, oh. You are killing me. Your act reminds me of an incident from very long time ago.”
“I know who that is.”
“How can you girl?”
“If I guess correctly, will you let me go?”
“My words remind you of Hanuman from the time he was flying to Lanka to rescue Sita. You are the Surasa from yore who hindered his way. You grew bigger and bigger as Hanuman expanded his body and when your mouth reached huge proportions, he shrank to a spec and flew in and out of your mouth really quickly. You blessed him and sent him on his way. Am I correct?”
Surasa laughed again.
“Right you are, dearie. I was the last test before you reach what you came for.”
Maya smiled after what seemed like centuries past.
“Does that mean you’ll let me go?”
“Yes, of course. Not just that. You cannot reach the olive tree of wisdom without my help. Follow me.”
Maya, thanking her lucky stars for what seemed like the end of a very long ordeal, followed her.
The dampness, the swiftly running stream and the grey semi-darkness lost their hold over her gloomy thoughts as she impatiently counted each step forward towards the olive tree so that she could reach Hari that much faster.
Surasa seemed to know her thoughts without being told.
“Don’t worry. I foresee that your quest will be successful. But take care, you still haven’t completed it.”
“Does that mean I’ll run into more trouble?”
“Depends on what you classify as trouble. Come.”
Maya gradually felt a sweetness in air that reminded her of the approaching of spring season. Her surroundings gradually brightened until she stood at the base of a huge olive tree. The huge trunk and the canopy of a leafy ceiling that reached so high that her eyes couldn’t fathom what was above it awed her. The juicy olives hanging above…………… Maya’s heart fluttered as she saw them hanging impossibly above at a great distance.
Maya turned to Surasa with a tiny bit of hope.
“Would you be able to help me get the olives? I can’t reach them myself.”
Surasa’s booming laughs echoed as she replied – “Oh, no. My help ends here. The rest is upto you.”
Maya stared gloomily as she watched Surasa’s back retreating already in a distance.
De ja vu was no longer funny. How on earth was she to get the olives before another hideous creature came by?
She remembered Surasa’s warning of trouble and shuddered.
(1) If you are unfamilar with Surasa’s role in Ramayana, please click here.